how often to change (excuse to ask)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Czugi, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Czugi


    Feb 2, 2002
    i followed the link to the question and it didnt work, so sorry if its an old one but need to ask anyway. Ive been playin on the same stings for 2 years now. Ist that too long? Does this couse the sound to be less sharp? Coz thats what I think is happening.
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Generally speaking, strings become less bright with time. A key factor in this is the accumulation of dirt, sweat and other grime in the windings of the string. Flatwounds start of relatively mellow but last for ages - roundwounds start off much brighter but have so much more room for all the grunge to hide ;)

    The muck can largely be cleaned off with various techniques (eg boiling or soaking in various solutions). However, there is also physical damage to the strings - for example, the frets start to wear down the windings or the windings come loose from the inner core. These problems tend to result more in difficulties with intonation rather then lack of brightness per se and can't just be cleaned away.

    Now, as to how long before changing strings, it depends on a range of factors. Assuming your strings are physically undamaged then it comes down to how much zing you like with your string and, if you live for the sound of fresh roundwounds, how much you can afford.

    If you do decide its time for a new set, how about recording some stuff with the current set, recording again with the new set and then again after they've had a couple of weeks to settle down - that will give you an audible reference on how strings change over time.

  3. Czugi


    Feb 2, 2002
    dude, thats a proper answer. i should pay u by the hour. :) thanx. so how often do u change the stings?
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You don't have to change your strings - two great bass players - James Jamerson and Bernard Edwards - both said in interviews that they never changed theirs!!

    I tend to find that I like to be able to hear the harmonics clearly and they do fade with time. I used to use Rotosound Stainless steel roundwounds and they used to go 'off' very quickly - but now I use Nickels and I find that with high quality strings they can last about 6-9 months - although I could go on for longer.
  5. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    You should change your strings as often as you
    think is neccesary or your wallet will allow.

  6. Every weekend before shows. Consistant sound. I've taken this advice from a great local bassplayer / soundman. Helps make sure that string balance is as good as it can be.

    If we're just doing openers, then it's not worth the $10 to me. I'll kill a set of Ernie Ball 105-40's in a weekend of headling shows. I'll prolly kill them twoards the end of the second set.

    I make sure to have fresh ones if I go record. Not 100% new, but maybe about 80%. Easy to record with.

    Just my opinion.
  7. $10?! where are you buying your strings? i pay close to $40 for my blue steel...
  8. Local music store. I trade shirts from work for strings. Good for both companies. Strings are about $10 at their cost, and shirts are $10+ tax for me. Works :D
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I change mine every 3 months or so.
  10. When I play 6 nights a week, 5 hours per night I eat up strings even more if the weather is hot. I always tell others that it depends on how acidic your skin and sweat is, no two people have the same physiology. So really it depends on the individual. I really don't think there is a right or wrong answer! Just my opinion.


  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it is personal preference depending on what sound you like - so presumably, James Jamerson and Bernard Edwards were playing pretty frequently!! ;) But they chose to play with "dead" strings, because that's what they liked and didn't want to change them.

    I don't like really new strings and new stainless just feel scratchy to me - but I know that John Entwistle changed his strings every gig, because he liked a really bright sound - that was his sound.
  12. ERMAL


    Jun 20, 2003
    San Antonio, TX
    $40! - You should start ordering your strings from the dude pit or juststrings - When I used to use blue steels I never paid more than $20-$25 a set.